Duality breeds duality. Or, as the ancient Chinese put it, “yin creates yang.” Duality is the mentality of humanity. It permeates all our thinking. Our politics are all about which perspective is good and which is bad. Our legal system is all about who is right and who is wrong. Humanity even took the concept of Oneness in God to the dualistic perspective of God and devil—good and evil. For goodness sake, even our computers are based upon the binary system, the x’s and o’s of ‘yes’ and ’no.’
We all say we want peace. We all want love and harmony. But the very foundation of how we have been trained to think propagates separation, the polarization called duality. Along the lines of what Victor Davis Hanson said, we instinctively define people, countries, etc. not in terms of their majority of positive traits, but rather in terms of whatever shortcomings may exist in their history. If anybody or anything has to be perfect in order to be good, or if a country’s history has to be perfect for the country to be good, then nothing, nobody, and no country is good.
Yet, the dualistic mentality is not so easy to get past. Even what has been said here sets up the polarization of duality versus unity. This world is the world of duality (relativity). However, the root, the essence, the foundation is unity. Not just theologians, but also modern physicists tell us that. Unity can be experienced from deep within our being; not as a concept or emotional longing for love and light, but as a physiological reality.
For thousands of years, it has been called “enlightenment.” However, the dualistic hype around the word has rendered it more meaningless than meaningful, more misleading that enlightening. Suffice it to say that unity at the very depth of our being is not so easily lived day to day, moment to moment. Being in the world of duality but not of it is not understood or even perceived from the perspective of duality.
Our holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, and those of religion in general) are meant to enliven our sense of unity. Every Sunday, in fact, is about Sun-day—the Sun being the One, central, unifying core that the world of duality revolves around.
Family, community, patriotism, team spirit, etc. are all principles that revive the unification, the glue thatupholds, feeds, harmonizes and strengthens all of life. Without unity, there is no peace and no love. After all, it is our sense of oneness with another that is called “love.”
The 4th of July is meant to feed the harmonizing unity of patriotism. Have a happy and harmonizing holiday everyone!
The Law of Karma seems straight forward enough. It is simple cause and effect. For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. It’s just elementary, Newtonian physics. We live in a cause and effect world—a world of Karma. However, when we enter the domain of justice, things become quite obscure.
It is interesting to look up the word “justice” in dictionaries. The definitions are rather circular, using words like “righteous,” “moral,” “just,” “divine law,” “moral law,” etc. Merriam Webster suggests moral be described as: “perceptual or psychological rather than tangible or practical in nature or effect.”
I recall a man on the news proclaiming moral justice when a hurricane struck a gay community in south Florida. I recall a woman being mocked on the news when she even suggested that nature delivers moral Karma through acts or events of nature in the physical world. We are all quite aware of ‘justice’ being delivered by the courts in outrageous ‘legal’ ways, from the Salem witch trials to the nightly news.
Is justice really nothing more than, as Miriam Webster suggests, a psychological or perceptual, subjective judgement call? Do facts and reason come in at a distant second place to emotional gut reactions that vary wildly from one generation, one era, one cultural group, one country, and one state to the next? Dare we call that justice?
Can we really say there is Divine justice when we see small children suffer, aircrafts crash with over a hundred on board, and cities demolished by the random assault of a tornado? Can what actually IS be so radically divergent from what we base our lives upon and what we adamantly cling to with our convictions and perspectives?
Is there a direct correlation, a connection, between the physical cause and effect world and the delivery of moral justice? If so, can we even begin to fathom such a principle, and decide for ourselves when justice was served and why?
I dare not presume that I can sway the course of human behavior with my opinion on this matter. Yet, I do believe we can all gain by taking a step back and reflecting on this subject with an ever-broadening vision. As we do so, the mechanics of creation seamlessly merge the complexities of life, both physical and moral, into a very simple, yet profound, principle. Everything is seen to be infinitely integrated, correlated, and coherent. All the pieces of the puzzle do, ultimately, come together.
There is, as theologians and modern physicist alike have claimed, one thing that is the source of everything. All things emerge from and return to that. I liken the principle to water from the ocean becoming rain on the mountain top, and returning via a long tumbling journey down a mountain stream to that ocean. All follow the path of karmic events as we do our best to navigate the waters of life. As our vision broadens, we become ever increasingly free from the clutches that Karma has upon the very nature of our thoughts and emotions.
As we come to understand the nature of life more and more fully, our relationship with life becomes wiser: our behavior becomes less arrogant and more innocent; our convictions become more humble; our perspectives become less adamantly adhered to; our gut instincts become more reflective and tempered; and our will, actions, and reactions become more and more aligned with the nature of life. The nature of life is the nature of Mother Nature, is the nature of Oneness, the nature of God. We simply do our best to navigate the waters of the unfathomable flow of life.
Emancipation means freedom from the clutches of narrowness of vision—living in the world of Karma, but not being lost to it— awakening to that which lies just beyond the horizon of the world of Karma. In that place, beyond the horizon, beyond the narrowness of human conviction, beyond the world of cause and effect, all things unify. People sing its praises in church on Sundays. All people long for it. It dwells within us all, yet is hidden behind the curtain of Karma. We need only to see past that curtain.
Through the toils and tribulations of life, we struggle with relativity until the clouds of Karma often can part, and we see beyond relativity—we gain emancipation. Yet, even the emancipated deal with relativity and injustice when they function in this world of Karma, this world of relative justice and injustice.
Even when a divine incarnation enters into this world of imperfection, they are dealing with imperfection. Even when a divine being, Lord Rama as an example, entered the world of relativity, his interactions were in this world of imperfection. In spite of our idealized notions, there is no True Justice in the field of relativity. That is what relativity means. It’s all relative.
Recently, I asked the Pandit here at Mount Soma’s temple if he knew the one thing that was the sole problem with the world today. Sensing that I had something specific in mind, he looked at me inquisitively. I told him, “The imbalance between the Transcendent and the relative.” From what felt to me like the depth of his soul, he nodded in agreement.
The relative world is seductive. It pulls at you. It demands attention. It compels you to turn your back on the depth of your being (the Transcendent) and look to the surface, the relative. Even to the degree that you can even have a hard time sitting to meditate, you are compelled to turn your back on your true grandeur, your wisdom, the root of life, the anchor, the Transcendental depth of your being. That unbalancing, overwhelming compulsion toward the relative is, in and of itself, the problem with not only individual life, but also with global consciousness.
The relative calls you away from your wisdom. It compels you to cling to a paradigm, a perspective. It forces you to keep loading your plate with relative obsessions until the plate spills over and overtakes your being.
Do not allow that to happen. Regular meditation brings balance to your life and to the world. The rest is polarizing, relative identity. The foundation of balanced living is the Transcendent. It is the root that brings fulfillment to relative life.
I was recently chatting with someone about a situation they found themselves in, when they said they were committed to “not attaching negative stories to it all.” I was instantly impressed with that phrase. For me, the implications were vast regarding the human mentality: how we think and function.
Everything in relationships tends to be about the story we attach to it. This applies to our personal relationships as well as how we view relationships between others. It all becomes about the story we assign to the relationship. That is simply how we think. Even television shows and movies are all framed in terms of the story we create around the happenings. The story creates white knights and villains, good guys and bad guys, the noble and the evil, the victims and the perpetrators. Conflicts, disagreements, and judgements arise, not so much as a result of the occurrence of events, but rather due to the stories attached to those events. Even our legal system is more about the story we can paint the events with, rather than the events themselves. Opposing sides paint the events with contradicting stories. Individuals then cling to, and impose upon others, the story, the bias, of their choosing.
Imagine a world where events were not framed in stories. Opposing viewpoints were not etched in the stone of opposing stories. People were not defined in terms of a story. Stories tend to assign black and white absolutes to the shades, hues, and perspectives that life is composed of. Imagine a mentality that is free from the imposition of the confining, defining, and crucifying limitations of a story. Who is right? Who is wrong? Who is good? Who is bad? Opposing groups each cling to the story they lose themselves to. Remarkably, that is the way people function. It is the way this world compels people to function.
To understand one another is to see beyond the stories. For there to be peace in this world, good versus bad must be replaced with love and understanding. Needless to say there are extreme cases that can be considered black and white. However, in the case of our lives, such things are very rare, if they occur at all. Yet we tend to frame things in a story that assign black and white to our ongoing interactions. We then try to convince others to believe our story. Alliances are thusly created. An ‘us against them’ world becomes the global consciousness we immerse ourselves in. Animals attack one another and fight to the death. Chickens select the weakest in the pen and peck it to death. We humans must learn to see and live beyond that.
Imagine a world free from such narrow vision. I have said this in so many ways throughout the years:
Simultaneous, yet contradictory realities
The only true knowing is knowing you know nothing
To understand is to stand under, not to over-stand
The flip side of wisdom is humility
Freedom from identity with perspective
This means freedom from the stories we attach to our lives, to others, to everything. “Not attaching negative stories to it all” means emancipation, freedom, and peace. Peace and wisdom is something that happens within us as we see beyond the stories.
I hope the previous blog, “Mindsets vs Belief Systems,” offers a sense of the all-pervading depth and breadth of the concept of ‘mindset.’ Through the years, we continue to explore the nature of life from more and more different angles. The foundational understanding was given in the very first weekend class I ever offered. It can even be summarized in a single sentence. However, there is no end to the exploration. Indeed, life is not so much about learning new facts, as it is about gaining an ever-deepening understanding of the facts we already know. The concept of ‘mindset’ is a powerful example, pointing in the direction of that principle.
Everything can be condensed down to a buzzword or a quote. Yet in doing so, the deeper meaning is lost. That we have referred to as the “I-get-it Syndrome.” As we continue to explore anything from additional angles of view, wisdom grows. True Knowledge dwells not in facts, but deep within our souls. There we under-stand everything. There, with humility, we stand under everything and over-stand nothing. Nothing is fully graspable. The essence of everything expands to infinity… to Oneness… to the transcendental Ishwara.
I have been teaching, on average, eight long-weekend classes plus retreats, and giving multiple lectures every year, for twenty-five years now. I do not plan my classes or lectures with any detail. I prefer to get a feeling for the group and go from there. I do, however, have thoughts on my mind the few days or morning before the lecture, and start with that. Because Knowledge with a capital ‘K’ permeates all aspects of life and existence, any topic will open the door, connect with, and shed light on universal (transcendental) Knowledge. Perhaps illustrating that by talking about whatever comes up demonstrates that truth more convincingly than a canned or preplanned lecture.
Though I have employed that principle for over two decades now, this last class illustrated the principle even more fully. As I write this, I am flying home to Asheville from San Francisco, and sharing my reflections on the recent long weekend. I walked into the classroom the first day, Friday, as a blank slate. None of my thoughts that morning felt right to start with, whereas usually I have so many things to share that I do not know where to even begin.
We usually save ‘personal process day’ for Sunday. But Friday morning, I sat down in the classroom and before class even began, I asked a woman in the group how she was doing. What ensued determined the topic of the entire three-day weekend. I would like now to share some aspects of the weekend that I feel are most valuable.
Firstly, language and definitions are flexible. The meaning of words change over time. We are free, then, to use words. Otherwise, they use us—they force us to speak and think within the bounds of tiny definitions that limit and narrow our awareness and stifle our creativity. After all, who has the right to evolve the meaning of words? There is no overlord with such authority. Yet, meanings do change. When need be, we must have the boldness and confidence to mold and contour words to fit our insights and progressive understandings. We are free to do so. We must do so. Otherwise, life itself stagnates.
As the woman explained what was going on in her life, she opened the door to an arena we have not spoken of. Perhaps it is an arena others have discussed and defined with a word—perhaps not. So, in the moment, I defined the term “mindset” to generalize her experience into something universally applicable and not only valuable, but tremendously important and profoundly healing.
A mindset is a mode of function of the physiology of the brain. It is the ‘infrastructure’ or circuitry of the manner in which all life experiences are processed intellectually, as well as emotionally. A mindset determines not just what a person thinks or feels, but more importantly, how one thinks and feels. It is deeply foundational to everything one thinks, feels, and experiences. Every mindset has multiple facets—some positive, some negative. Anger, kindness, self-doubt, reflectiveness, etc. can all be facets of a mindset. Mindset goes far beyond attitude, temperament, belief systems, mood, or personality. It defines the very mode of function, the vessel, that holds all of those things and more. In the past, we have spoken of how the color of the glasses one is wearing determines what is seen and experienced: rose-colored glasses, grey-colored, etc. That points in the direction of mindset, but mindset is far more complex and multifaceted. It reaches deeply into the hidden channels of the heart and mind.
The churning waves of the ocean of life are indeed tempestuous. The conflict of opposing opinions is the warp and woof of worldly life. It plays out not only in the marketplace, not only in governmental affairs, but also as the inner heart and mind dynamic of the individual.
Who among us lives strong in such a world? What does it even mean to be strong? Does strength mean clinging to a perspective as truth and ramrodding through life in allegiance to that perspective? Is truth made of clay that is molded and contorted to support a perspective? Are the strong among us nothing more than the most vocal perpetrators of perspective? Do the strong turn their back and move on when challenges arise or perspective is blurred? When they make a mistake? When the going gets tough? When they become upset or confused? Do the strong erase and start over when the inevitable churning tides of life overwhelm them? Do the strong fight for their perspective disregarding all else? Where is strength to be found?
From time to time, we have all been wounded in life. The sun does not shine every day. When wounded, we are not at our best. Or are we? At those times, what does “being our best” even look like? At those times, what does “strength” even look like? Surely, it cannot be conformity to some superficial Hollywood notion of strength. Yet, is such conformity what we strive for at those times? Do we live in service to such idealized preconceived perspectives of life? Can we learn, or does our notion of strength preclude learning? Only the strong can truly sit with their weakness.
While the street mentality might believe that strength is unswerving allegiance to perspective, doesn’t strength include the ability to overcome current perspective? To acknowledge mistakes? To not walk away, but rather clean up the damage one perpetrated?
Whatever one’s perspective, these words can be used or abused. They can fuel one’s adherence to a current perspective, or they can facilitate one’s ability to evolve one’s relationship with situations, large and small. For strength is not concrete. Strength is fluid—open, dynamic, and movable. Strength can be yielding, transformed, powerful, noncommittal, or even ambivalent. Ultimately, strength is wisdom. Strength does not judge, yet can act decisively. Strength is not rickety, yet can rest with not knowing. Strength is righteous, but not self-righteous. Strength is not meek, but is humble. Strength resigns not to the unknown, but salutes it.
Find strength not in the surface of worldly convictions. Find strength in the ungraspable depth of the soul.
“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” – Oscar Wilde
Seems everybody is looking for the bottom line or decides they have already found it. This applies to everything from the deepest most profound issues, like the purpose of life, to the most mundane like, “What should we have for dinner?”
This is the world of opinion. Opinions are just perspectives. Even the ‘laws’ of physics are not really true. Newton’s laws are ultimately just approximations. That is what special relativity is all about! Even mathematics is just an approximation. One plus one equals two? Show me a perfect ‘one’ of anything. Plato got that right a long time ago with the notion of Plato’s Theory of Forms.
But let’s take it down to the grassroots, real world, daily life, practical level. Who has the real story on anything? We are all juggling between this and that: Pragmatic vs. idealistic, what you saw vs. what they saw, half empty vs. half full, the endless paradoxes of this vs. that. There is no end to it.
Wisdom just isn’t black and white. Yet, we are all faced with ‘this or that’ decisions from moment to moment. For every decision you make, there is someone out there who would judge it as wrong. Chances are, given enough time, you too will end up judging yourself.
Wisdom is really a fascinating thing. What is it really? What is its basis? Where does it come from? What perspective does it hold? Does it ever have a solid conviction about anything? Or are the ‘wise’ just a wishy-washy benign and nebulous cloud of ‘not knowing’ anything for absolute certain?
If we insist upon the notion of ‘Truth,’ then we must understand that Truth is not concrete. Why? Because Truth transcends perspective. Truth transcends relativity. “Truth,” by its very definition, is Absolute. It is an abstraction. It is not of this material world. It is unbounded by opinion or perspective.
Yet we live in a world that is relative. So, even the wise must act in a relative world, even though they see beyond it… even though they know better! Oscar Wilde said that truth is rarely pure. He got that right. Truth is only pure (Absolute) when it is not relative, not of this world. The wise live that. It is not just a notion for them. It is a living reality. Yet, even for them, life is an ongoing sequence of one decision after another. Often those decisions come with great conviction and commitment. But more often, they come with the understanding of multiple perspectives. They do not over-stand life. They under-stand life. Humility is built right into the word ‘understanding’.
Now, it is easy enough to comprehend this notion of Truth and wisdom. But to understand it is quite another thing. To understand it is to live it. To live it is to understand it. To live it is far more than to just comprehend it as a concept. And to live it? That is not so easy to do. In fact, it cannot be simply comprehended and then done. If it could, we would all have been enlightened many years ago. Living Truth, while living in this world of relativity, is a state of being. It is a state of physiology. It is a state that is not understood by those who are of this relative world. In fact, those who are of this world judge Truth as just another relative perspective. To live Truth is to “be in this world but not of it”. Truth lies beyond this world. Find Truth within the depth of your being. Over time, integrate the polar opposites of the Absolute and the relative. To do so is to see beyond the horizon. To do so is to become wise.
As a teen, I used to say that Dylan would go down as the greatest poet of the twentieth century. Now, many say that. Interestingly, Dylan himself has said he no longer has that ability. In a way, genius is elusive, even though a person may be brilliant. Also interesting, it has been said that most brilliant works came about like Dylan’s, when the genius was in their twenties or early thirties.
I believe the key to understanding Dylan’s lyrics often is in feeling how the words make you feel… how he must have felt to write them. He captures subtle, elusive, abstract, yet often universal feelings with his words. He makes compelling points not just with reason, but by conveying shades, hues, as well as passions and convictions with the feelings he conveys. That is just my perspective on his genius. I’ve enjoyed going over various lyrics of his in some of our classes.
Crimson flames tied through my ears Referring to his young idealized ‘crimson’ notions… passions, convictions, and black and white ‘clarity trips’. Dylan starting with the word “crimson” is, in itself, a good example… feeling of noble, god-like, royal, passionate, lofty, superior. Sarcasm is common in his lyrics. It’s source, I believe, is that he conceptualized the Transcendent (for example, his song “Gates of Eden”), but had no clear and direct experience of it. So, the dichotomy of relativity verses the Absolute, the resolution of paradox, eluded him.
Still today, people cling to their clarity-trip, belief system perspectives as truth. Even to the extent that they wage war and devote their lives to them, limited as they are. Life is paradox. It is one thing to understand that intellectually. It is quite another to live it, to be unbounded—free of limitation.
Rollin’ high and mighty traps Realizing now that his thoughts were narrow, belief system traps.
Pounced with fire on flaming roads Referring to how he attacked world events with his perspectives.
Using ideas as my maps His perspectives led him by the nose.
We’ll meet on edges, soon, said I Cutting edges of debate, confrontation, etc.
Proud ‘neath heated brow He was ready to fight proudly for his perspectives.
“Well, the bear will be gentle
And the wolves will be tame
And the lion shall lay down by the lamb, oh yes
And the beasts from the wild
Shall be led by a child…
…There will be peace in the valley… some day…”
From the Elvis Presley song, “(There’ll be) Peace in the Valley”, based on the Bible verse Isaiah 11:6:
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”
As I look out over this world, I see such longing for peace and contentment. This is true internationally, nationally, locally, interpersonally, and individually. Yet, on all those levels, I see the seeds of unrest and conflict in the hearts and minds of the people.
Unrest is not the result of circumstance. Circumstance is the result of unrest. Unrest lies within people–within the hearts and minds of the people. As is said, in this age of Kali Yuga, the Rakshasas (the seeds of unrest) dwell within the hearts and minds of the people.
As we look everywhere, we see people striving for peace by striving to change circumstance. In today’s world, that is the deepest that people can seem to understand. It is, as is said, like trying to make a withering plant healthy by painting the leaves green. Furthermore, in those efforts, they become angry, hateful, and vile. However laudable the original intent may be, the winds of Karma still blow. It is the Karma of this age that we look not deep within, but we look outward to circumstance. That is the ultimate denial. That is the tragedy of our times.
I have dedicated my life to healing what lies within people. That is my most fundamental teaching. Few are receptive. Of those few, only a handful look deeper than emotions. Yet, the Kingdom of Heaven lies far deeper than emotions. Yet, for most, spirituality is emotionally based. Nothing deeper feels real to them. So very few hear the call and keep a steady hand on the rudder when the winds of Karma blow.
In my earlier years, I tried to talk people down from their identity with the winds of Karma. That did have a healing effect on many, but most just returned to those Karmic winds and held fast to those viewpoints which they hypnotically embraced as ‘truth.’
My commitment now is to the implementation of Vedic technology to purge the karmic winds from global consciousness—from within the hearts and minds of the people. Sthapatya Veda shows the way. We will build it.
Yet, the winds blow even more fiercely when they are faced. Nevertheless, we will persevere. In the meantime, look inward to the place where the winds of Karma can never reach—beyond mind, beyond touch, beyond emotions.